by Nicola Yoon
Published September 1st 2015
Young Adult/ Contemporary
“You can do every goddamn thing right, and your life can still turn to shit.”
I had no intention at all to read this book but then I was forced to by a friend of mine. She insisted that I would love it if I loved All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. Why she would even suggest the two are the same thing is beyond me but I caved and picked up the book. There is also the fact that a movie adaptation will be released on May 19th 2017 with Nick Robinson and Amandla Stenberg. I think the last fact is what pushed me to read it eventually.
“Just because you can’t experience everything doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experience anything.”
Let me start by saying that it is not so often you come across really diverse books. Most of the books that I have read that become popular and are regarded diverse mostly have a black person or an LGBTQ character. The main character here is half African American and Japanese American. So that made me smile as I was reading the first few chapters. Then she has a medical condition and cannot leave her house. She is mostly surrounded by her mum who is a doctor and a nurse who takes care of her when the mum is at work.
“Sometimes I reread my favorite books from back to front. I start with the last chapter and read backward until I get to the beginning. When you read this way, characters go from hope to despair, from self-knowledge to doubt. In love stories, couples start out as lovers and end as strangers. Coming-of-age books become stories of losing your way. Your favorite characters come back to life.”
So much potential, right? I get that there was that feeling that this has been done before with The Fault in Our Stars, All the Bright Places and the rest I have not read but it still had the diversity going. That is what made me keep on reading it. I even read it in one sitting which should say something.
“Everything’s a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It’s up to you.”
You have the Afro-Asian main character, Madeline, who suffers from Severe combined immunodeficiency, SCID which is a rare genetic disorder that affects the immune system. It’s the bubble boy disease and she cannot be out in the open air and the air around her has to be purified or else she could get really sick and die. But her life is starting to feel dull and repetitive. Her books and internet friends are no longer enough. She is getting curious and wants to explore the outside world.
“For the first time in a long time, I want more than I have.”
As with every other young adult book, what pushes her is a boy. His name is Olly and he moves in next door and she cannot stop obsessing over him. He is the one who makes her question everything in her life and I found that a bit annoying. I even asked my sister why is it that in every movie or book the girl starts being irrational because of a boy. And that’s when it lost me. The book went from 5 stars to 3 stars.
“I was trying so hard to find the single pivotal moment that set my life on its path. The moment that answered the question, ‘How did I get here?’
But it’s never just one moment. It’s a series of them. And your life can branch out from each one in a thousand different ways. Maybe there’s a version of your life for all the choices you make and all the choices you don’t.”
But then there was the big plot twist that just pissed me off! I could see it coming actually way before it happened. So when it did I had to just roll my eyes for a while. WHY? The book had so much potential!!! But anyway, my rating went from 3 to a 3.5 because of diversity. I think I have said that so much but it was a breath of fresh air. Would I recommend it? To a teenager, yes.
“I decide then that love is a terrible, terrible thing. Loving someone as fiercely as my mom loves me must be like wearing your heart outside of your body with no skin, no bones, no nothing to protect it”
Now I can dive into The Sun is Also a Star! It’s also a diverse book.